Congress of Aboriginal Peoples’ National Chief Lavallée Issues Statement on the Passing of Nelson Mandela
“Even though we knew this day was coming, we are still shocked by his passing…” Chief Lavallée
(Ottawa, ON) December 6, 2013 – National Chief, Betty Ann Lavallée, CD., (Ret’d), of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, issued the following statement to recognize the significance of the passing of South African leader, Nelson Mandela, who died at the age of 95.
“On behalf of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, I offer my sincerest condolences to Mr. Nelson Mandela’s family and to the citizens of South Africa. This is truly a very sad time for many people throughout the world who looked to him as the moral beacon in their fight for justice and dignity for all.
We have lost one of the world’s greatest peacekeepers who led by example and provided us a lesson in the power of humility. He translated that virtue into a strength that was the essence of his leadership. He also showed us what is possible when you combine an incredible moral conviction with a commitment to justice without bitterness. By choosing not to use violence as a means to achieve justice for his people, Mr. Mandela brought peace, stability and equality to South Africa’s indigenous people – a goal that few thought possible at that time.
Mr. Mandela was also acutely concerned and aware of the injustices that were brought upon Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples and demonstrated that conviction by wearing a Métis sash when he addressed Parliament in 1998. I believe that many of us truly felt a special bond and affection towards him because we felt that he was also fighting for our right to be treated equally regardless of race, religion or background. (Read more on his visit to Canada)
Today, we have lost a great human being, an icon, a father and a man of peace who was an inspiration to us all. He showed us what is possible against unspeakable odds. I believe in these moments, we have an opportunity to recognize within ourselves what can be achieved when we choose the right path in life. Mr. Mandela clearly showed us the way and we would honour him by following his example.
Even though we knew this day was coming, we are still shocked by his passing, and although he is gone, he has left a remarkable legacy that will be forever remembered - may he rest in peace.”
Since 1971, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (formerly known as the Native Council of Canada) has been the National Representative Organization and the National Voice for the constituency and their Affiliate Organizations making up the Congress’ family of advocates for the off-reserve, non-Status, and Status Indians, Métis and Southern Inuit Aboriginal Peoples living in urban, rural remote and isolated areas throughout Canada. Today, over 75% of Aboriginal Peoples live off-reserve.